By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: August 2009
Volunteers work the Kiddie Korral at the Bluegrass & Chili Festival, taking place this year September 10-12.
It’s growing close to that time of year we’ve all been waiting for – time for the Bluegrass & Chili Festival. The festival, which has been a part of northeast Oklahoma tradition for 30 years, will be held September 10, 11, and 12 at the Claremore Expo Center grounds, and there are still plenty of opportunities for people to get involved, according to Dell Davis of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce. Sign-ups and applications are available for The Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Competition, The Best Country in the City Vocalist Competition, The Festival Market, The Open Car Show, and The Junior Showcase.
The Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-off and Salsa Competition is presented by IBC Bank and Air Products, and is an eagerly anticipated event every year. “The International Chili Society Division winning cook will represent the festival in the World Cook-Off that boasts a $25,000 first prize,” says Davis. “The Chili Appreciation Society International qualified contestants will earn travel money and prizes for the International Cook-off at Terlingua.” Non-profit divisions are also open to non-profits, schools, and churches. The first prize of $1,000 will be awarded by ONG to the winner of the non-profit division, who will have doors opened for even greater honors.
Applications for The Best Country in the City Vocalist competition, presented by Wal-Mart, are also available to those of any age who aren’t afraid to showcase their talent. A cash prize will be awarded for this event as well, which promises to be highly entertaining, with country dancers and cloggers offering dance exhibitions, and with the audience invited to participate in the dancing fun. For those under 21 years of age who would like to exhibit their stage talents in a non-competitive environment, the festival will hold a Junior Showcase, presented by McDonalds. “Youth receive a sponsor bag,” says Davis, “and by drawing, one will win a guitar provided by Guitar House.”
This year, the Festival Market will expand from its former focus only on arts and crafts, and will now showcase local services and businesses, as well as an even wider variety of arts and crafts. Several businesses have already signed up, but there is plenty of room for more, according to Davis.
These are just a few of the events attendees have to look forward to at the upcoming 30th annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival, such as free concerts with award-winning bluegrass artists, a free Kiddie Korral, and a new event, Bulls and Bluegrass, a Saturday night open bull riding competition. Dell Davis is proud to have watched this event grow steadily every year. “The original festival started in Tulsa,” Davis says. “We are celebrating 10 years in Claremore this year. There are people who have worked with this festival since the very beginning who are still with us now, and new people have joined us each year.”
Major sponsors of the event include the City of Claremore, KOTV The News on 6, 98.5 KVOO, Lafarge North America, RCB Bank, 1st Bank Oklahoma, Cox Communications and Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. Cooperative sponsors include Sonic, Grand Bank, Air Evac, Claremore Optimist Club, Claremore Physicians Immediate Care, AT&T and GRDA.
It is not too late to become involved in the aforementioned events. For more information or to sign up, contact Dell Davis at (918) 341-2818.